Steve Bouquet allegedly killed nine cats and stabbed seven others in spate of attacks
A professor has today told the trial of an alleged cat killer that he found his pet Kyo stabbed to death by the side of the road.
Steve Bouquet, 54, knifed seven cats, killing two of them, during a month-long stabbing spree, Chichester Crown Court has heard.
He allegedly approached the pets near their homes and showed them affection before pulling out a knife from his rucksack and stabbing them.
The court was told Bouquet would then walk off and leave the animals to either die or crawl home, where many later succumbed to their horrific injuries.
The security guard at the Churchill shopping centre in Brighton, East Sussex, is accused of carrying out a spate of stabbings between October 2018 and June 2019, and allegedly killing nine cats and seriously injuring seven more.
He is charged with 16 offences of criminal damage, because cats like other pets are deemed property, and is also charged with unlawful possession of a Leatherman multi-tool in public.
Bouquet, who is being tried in his absence, denies the charges.
At court, one owner, Professor Paul Tofts, told of the moment he came across his pet Kyo ‘by accident’ lying dead down the side of his house in May 2019.
He said: ‘I had to go out to meet someone and I came upon him by accident. There was blood all over the place and a trail of blood from the pavement leading to the front.’
And another described blood spurting out of a deep wound after she picked up her cat Gideon, who had been found limping on his return home.
At court, one owner, Professor Paul Tofts (pictured left), told of the moment he came across his pet Kyo (right) ‘by accident’ lying dead down the side of his house in May 2019
Professor Tofts said that Kyo, who had a white mark on his throat, spent much of his time roaming outside and he had been brought to the UK from Germany some years before by his wife where he had been almost ‘feral.’
The professor initially told police he last saw his cat at around 10pm the previous evening.
The cats Bouquet is accused of killing
- Hendrix, who belonged to Stewart Montgomery, in May 2019.
- Tommy, who belonged to Carolyn Green in November 2018.
- Hannah, who belonged to Alan Levy in October 2018.
- Alan, who belonged to Katherine Maddock in February 2019.
- Nancy, who belonged to Jeff Carter in March 2019.
- Gizmo, who belonged to Emma O’Sullivan in March 2019.
- Kyo, who belonged to Paul Tofts in May 2019.
- Ollie, who belonged to Suzanne McKenzie in May 2019.
- Cosmo, who belonged to Lucy Kenward in June 2019.
But he later changed that in a second statement where he told police he may not have seen his cat at all the previous evening.
Meanwhile, Tina Randall said she spotted a wound on her pet Gideon’s shoulder and immediately thought it was a stab wound.
She said: ‘Gideon came in through front door. He seemed to flop down and I noticed there something wrong with him.
‘It was was a three-quarter inch straight wound. It did not look like a bite. I immediately thought it was a stab wound. He was fading and as I picked him up blood spurted out.’
Miss Randall, a former veterinary assistant, took him to the vets, where Gideon, 11, survived emergency surgery and treatment costing more than £1,600.
In total, seven cats – Hannah, Wheatley, Alistair, Rigby, Gideon, Tommy and Samson – were stabbed in October-November 2018. Tommy and Hannah died from their injuries.
Ravi Dogra, defending, accused Professor Tofts of changing his statement after finding out that police had evidence which connected a suspect to the attack at an earlier time that evening.
Professor Tofts denied lying, saying the police statement was taken down inaccurately and that the officer taking it down had done so from memory sometime later.
He said he corrected his initial error when he made a second statement to police about the attack.
The first victim of the alleged cat killer – Hannah – died from blood loss before she could be saved by a vet.
Hannah, who was 14 months, had last been seen sitting up a neighbour’s palm tree by her owner Alan Levy as he headed off to work that October.
The court heard that vets treating the cats had ruled out car accidents or falling from trees as the possible cause of the injuries. Pictured: Samson, who was injured
Bouquet was charged with 16 offences of criminal damage between October 2018 and June 2019, as under current legislation, cats and other animals are deemed to be property. Nine of the pets were killed, seven were injured
But just 30 minutes later he received a call form his distraught partner telling him their beloved pet had been seriously injured.
He returned home and the couple raced Hannah to Coastways Vets in Brighton. The jury was told the cat had such a deep laceration to her leg she could not be saved, and she later died of blood loss.
In a statement read to court, the vet who treated Hannah on her arrival said she remembers the case because the owner’s partner was ‘absolutely distraught’.
Sharon Dunworth said there was a deep wound to the cat’s thigh which had penetrated the whole muscle and severed her femoral artery.
She said there were no bruises or grazing, but a single penetrative wound consistent with being stabbed.
Miss Dunworth said: ‘She had a lacerated femoral artery and would have died form the blood loss.’
Giving evidence, Mr Levy agreed the loss of the beloved cat in such a shocking manner had been very ‘upsetting’.
The court was told that after the tragedy, he installed CCTV on his house in order to protect their other cat, Gerry.
One victim, Alistair, had to undergo £2,500 worth of veterinary treatment after he was allegedly stabbed by Bouquet.
In a statement read to court, Carolyn Green described the moment she discovered her cat Tommy bleeding on her front doorstep.
The wave of stabbings swept through central Brighton between October 2018 and June 2019, leaving pet owners upset. Pictured: Bouquet outside court in 2019
Pictured: Nancy, who belonged to Jeff Carter in March 2019
She said she received a knock on the door on at 6.15pm on November 8 and saw a neighbour who told her she thought her pet had been knocked down by a car.
She said: ‘I saw my cat Tommy lying on doorstep clearly injured. I only let him out a few minutes previously. I picked him and noticed blood on my T-shirt.’
She took him to New Priory Vets in Brighton and they treated Tommy and then sedated him.
They called Mrs Green later to tell her that her cat had been stabbed and that he would have to undergo emergency surgery. She said: ‘I was shocked and they said they were operating as his injuries were serious.’
At around 11.45pm that night Mrs Green received another call form the vets to tell her that Tommy had died from his injuries.
The jury was told the alleged killer was only caught after being captured on CCTV which had been installed by the owner of the first victim, Hannah.
Seven months later, Bouquet was allegedly caught on a CCTV camera attacking and killing Hendrix, a nine-month-old black kitten, who sitting on a wall near his house.
Two days later, when Bouquet was allegedly later spotted walking past the house on live CCTV by his partner, Mr Levy called police and he was stopped by police and arrested.
The jury have been shown the footage of the moment Bouquet allegedly stabbed Hendrix in the side.
Seanin Mouland, whose cat Samson was injured in November 2018, told the court she found her cat dragging his back legs after being stabbed.
She said: ‘I heard him growling from the patio at around 10.30pm’ – as if he was in confrontation with another cat.
The cat came inside at 11.50pm and she said that he was unable to walk properly and was dragging his back legs.
Pictured: Alan, who belonged to Katherine Maddock in February 2019
Bouquet, who is being tried in his absence, has denied the charges. Pictured: Samson
In a statement read to the court, she said: ‘He came to bedroom door. I saw his back legs weren’t working. He was growling and hissing. It was clear something was wrong, He then threw up. I found a small blood spot on the floor beneath him.’
When her husband turned him over they could see an inch-long slit on his left hip near his belly.
He was rushed to a vets and underwent surgery to repair a puncture to his abdomen which had damaged his colon. He was given intensive post-operative care and survived.
In another statement read to court, Katherine Mattock said she noticed a large cut near her cat Alan’s lung area which was ‘bleeding profusely’.
She said: ‘I was still in a state of shock. I picked him up and he was limp but warm. I looked at my hands which had blood on them.’
The owner said police were called and she ran over to a nearby pub and asked the manager come and see if her cat was dead.
She said: ‘I didn’t want to believe he was dead.’ However she was told her cat was dead and the body was taken to vets for examination.
A vet, Megan Prendergast, later confirmed Alan had been killed by a single, deep knife wound which had pierced his lung.
The trial continues.